Michelle Obama describes stress of watching debates

Michelle Obama
AP Photo/Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Donna Svennevik

The presidential debates are surely stressful for President Obama and Mitt Romney, but First Lady Michelle Obama says the events give her some anxiety as well.

"I compared it to the Olympic parents watching their kids on that balance beam," Mrs. Obama said in an interview on ABC's "Live with Kelly and Michael" that aired today.

The first lady told the talk show hosts that at the last debate she found herself squirming in her seat, but she said, "they really caution you to be quiet, and I try to follow the rules so I don't get in trouble."

Mr. Obama's first debate performance was panned, but his wife of course had only praise for the job he's done as president. Mrs. Obama said his record holds up "when you think of where this country started, 800,000 jobs being lost in this economy every month." She added, "I'm proud of how he carries himself with consistency, and poise and decency and honesty."

Mrs. Obama, who is more popular than her husband, has served as an effective spokeswoman for her husband on the campaign trail. In the interview, which was taped on Wednesday but aired today, she urged viewers to vote early "because you never know what's going to happen on Election Day."

Mrs. Obama also divulged some trivia about the first family's personal life, noting that they held a "play date" for their dog Bo recently for his fourth birthday. First daughters Malia and Sasha, she said, were "concerned Bo wasn't getting enough doggy interaction, so after a week of campaigning we had five dogs on the South Lawn with doggy treats and moms and kids and snacks and treats."

Obama Splits Lip in Basketball Game

The first lady said she gets concerned her husband will get hurt playing basketball -- recalling the incident in 2010 when he split his lip -- and said her favorite dessert is pie and her first job was babysitting.

Asked what reality show she likes, Mrs. Obama said, "I do love a little 'Real Housewives' every now and then." Asked whether she prefers Mr. Obama wearing boxers or briefs, she jokingly replied, "None of the above."